June 17, 2008

Please Choose Me!

Mary Southerland

 

 

Today’s Truth

“Know that the Lord is God. He made us, and we belong to him; we are his people, the sheep he tends” (Psalm 100:3 NCV)

 

Friend to Friend

I can still remember the terror I felt each time my elementary teacher announced, "Today, we will play softball at recess." My stomach clenched in dread as I contemplated the tortuous hour stretching out before me. I hated playing softball because I was a terrible athlete! Overweight, I huffed and puffed around the bases…if I ever got lucky enough to hit the elusive softball. I had no idea how to wear a softball glove, so the thought of actually trying to catch the ball was terrifying. I was always assigned to the outfield where few balls came and where I had the least chance of doing any damage. The most horrible part of the whole experience was the dreaded team selection process. It was always the same. Two captains were chosen, usually Sarah and Tim because they were slender, attractive and popular - everything I was not. Sarah and Tim would step to the pitcher's mound and begin the process of choosing their teams. I can still remember trying to look as if I did not care that everyone around me was defecting to the other side while I waited, praying that I would hear my name called by somebody…anybody. I was usually one of three or four children left standing, staring at the preferred ones already taking their positions on the field. Sarah usually took pity on me and picked me before Jeff and Alicia. At least I was not the last one chosen.

We tend to find our identity and worth in the fact that we are chosen by someone. Every shepherd chose his sheep - one by one - with great deliberation, thought and care. A choice implies ownership, pursuit and a deliberate action on the part of the one doing the choosing.

Over the years, I have spent a great deal of my life energy and costly time in an ongoing attempt to validate my identity. Much of the pain, frustration and stress I have experienced could have been avoided by simply remembering whose I am - a chosen child, a daughter of the King, and an indispensable part of God's heart. That’s right! I am indispensable to no one but God. No one can take my place in my Father’s heart.

 

The knowledge that I am chosen frees me to serve Him whole-heartedly and boldly without bowing to the unrealistic expectations imposed by others and by my own fragile heart. The knowledge that He created me allows me to embrace the gifts He has given me and encourages me to strain every choice, every decision through the filter of God’s perfect plan for my life. Knowing whose I am draws my attention away from both the critics and the cheerleaders in life and fixes my gaze on the only one I have to please…God.

 

Knowing whose we are settles our souls and directs our steps toward the path God intended when He shaped us. You and I were created as a living, fleshed out depiction of God’s love. We can celebrate the precious truth of Psalm 139:14-16 (NCV), “I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother's body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old”. Just think of it! God Himself supervised our formation. We were created in love – for love – with a specific and holy purpose in mind.

 

God is an up-close and personal God. He met Nicodemus at night; he met the woman at the well of Samaria; he met the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda and He touched the blind man, giving him sight. As he walked through Jericho, Jesus saw a little man perched in a tree and called to him, "Zacchaeus, come down. We have a lunch appointment". He met Matthew at the customs' table and told him, "Rise, and follow me." We come to Jesus alone. There are no "group rates" when it comes to knowing God. It is always one-on-one and very personal. What you believe about Him in the silence and stillness of your own heart is what makes the difference in your life journey. The heart is where all spiritual transactions are made and the transformation process begins. "He calls his own sheep by name."

 

Stress is a deadly disease that can wreak havoc in our lives. The frightening reality is that stress seems to run rampant, unchecked and in epidemic proportions through our relationships, our job, our home…every part of who we are. It does not have to be that way. In fact, a stress-riddled existence has never been and will never be part of God's plan for His children. No, but that would be Satan’s plan for us because he knows that stress is a powerful tool through which he can work. Stress is his invitation to set up shop in our lives. Remember! Stress management begins with the knowledge that we are chosen by God for a personal relationship with Him. Without Him, we are in eternal trouble. A little girl ended her bedtime prayer with “Dear God, I need you to please take care of mommy, take care of daddy, take care of my sister and my brother and please, please God, take care of yourself because if you don't we're all sunk. Amen!” I could not have said it better myself!

 

Let’s pray

Father, I don’t want to live a life filled stress. I don’t want to live life on my own, lonely and without purpose. Thank You for wanting to know me. I don’t really understand it, Father, but I choose to believe it. Thank You for Your love and for sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross so that I can know You personally. Please help me to have a heart that seeks You first, a mind that is filled with Your truth and a life lived out in peace because I know You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Now it’s your turn

  • Has there ever been a time in your life when you desperately wanted to be chosen for something…but weren’t?
  • How would you describe that experience?
  • What was your response to the feeling of rejection?
  • Think about the truth of today’s devotion – you are chosen by God. How would living out that truth change your life?

 

More from the girls

Since childhood, feelings of inferiority and insecurity have assaulted my heart and mind. And even after surrendering my life to Jesus Christ, I have battled those same feelings. I have to realize that those feelings are false and cannot be trusted. Faith in God is not based on feelings, friend. Faith in God is based solely on the facts of the bible and the reality of who God is. Need some reinforcement? Check out my CD, Love that Never Fails. You might also be interested in my weekly online bible study, Light for the Journey. The current topic, Have You Made Up Your Mind? explores the power of our thought life.

 

 

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